A BARRHEAD man who suffered a fractured skull when he crashed his BMW into a van during a 120mph police chase has won the right to get his driving licence back.

Brian Smith, of Langton Crescent, was more than double the then drink-drive limit when he careered along the M8 motorway while cops gave chase in 2014.

The 27-year-old then speeded through the streets of Paisley, where he jumped a red light and smashed into a van parked in the town’s Glasgow Road.

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Smith had accelerated around a corner and lost control of his BMW, smashing into a Citroen Relay at the junction with Oldhall Road.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard that his three-door hatchback struck the van with such force it caused extensive damage to both vehicles, catapulted the van along the street and knocked both Smith and his passenger, John O’Rourke, unconscious.

Smith was left with a fractured skull, broken collarbone, collapsed lung and injuries to his kidney and liver, while Mr O’Rourke suffered a broken collarbone and collapsed lung.

When he appeared in the dock three years ago, Smith admitted breaking the Road Traffic Act 1988 by driving dangerously, while drunk, on April 7, 2014.

The court heard a taxi driver raised the alarm when he spotted Smith speeding down the M8 towards Glasgow at around 1.30am on the day in question.

Officers located Smith and pursued him – in a marked police car, with their sirens and blue lights on.

Smith ignored them, left the motorway and headed through Paisley, speeding along Renfrew Road and Glasgow Road, before crashing.

Sheriff David Pender jailed Smith for 18 months, with the sentence reduced from two years as he admitted his guilt.

Barrhead News:

Paisley Sheriff Court 

As he did so, the Sheriff said: “You are lucky to be alive, lucky Mr O’Rourke is alive, and lucky no-one was hurt in the van you crashed into.

“You were driving at 120mph in a 30mph zone and were twice the legal drink-drive limit. This is at the very highest scale of dangerous driving.

“I have to admit, sentencing in a case like this is not an easy matter. On one hand, we have a very serious offence and, on the other, we have a young man, who I’m told is intelligent, with no previous convictions, but I cannot deal with this without a period of imprisonment.”

Smith was also banned from the roads for five years and told to sit the extended driving test before being allowed back behind the wheel.

However, he applied to get his licence back after just three years of his five-year ban and, having served his jail term, appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court for the appeal hearing.

Prosecutor Claire Rowan told the court Smith had not come to the attention of the police for any other offence and his only previous conviction stemmed from the crash.

Defence solicitor Kristopher Brown told Sheriff Pender that Smith was now training to be a mechanic and had received a student bursary.

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Sheriff Pender said: “I can remember this case because it was a very, very bad piece of dangerous driving.

“In the whole circumstances, given your background, that this is your only previous conviction and what you’re doing to improve your lot, I’m going to grant the application.

“You can’t drive immediately – you have to apply for and pass your test – but, as far as the court is concerned, you can drive as soon as you pass your test.”